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Tomte with Mistletoe
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Tomte with Mistletoe

European mistletoe is a parasitic shrub that grows into the bark of trees. It has small yellow flowers and berries filled with a white, sticky, mildly poisonous liquid. It has long been associated with male fertility and virility. As early as the second century BC, the Druids considered it sacred and attributed magical powers to it. Around winter solstice, the darkest part of the year, mistletoe was hung to protect a house from malevolent spirits.

The Romans used mistletoe as a decoration, and incorporated it into celebrations of Mithraism. During the third century, when the Christian Church decided that the Nativity would be celebrated on December 25, mistletoe was ordered replaced with holly in all celebrations. Holly's sharp leaves were said to symbolize the thorns in Jesus' crown and the red berries, His blood.

Although the tradition of kissing underneath mistletoe was known in 16th century England, it may be Scandinavian in origin. A young man who found a girl standing under mistletoe would reach up, pluck a berry from the sprig, and put it into her mouth. She would swallow the berry and then grant him a kiss. When the berries were gone, the kisses ended.

Inside of card:

The mistletoe is hung!

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Tomte with Squirrels

Tomte with Squirrels

It is late afternoon on an autumn day. The sun hangs low near the horizon and bathes everything in an eerie orange glow that seems to come from everywhere. The trees have lost their blanket of snow, but a thin smooth sheet still clings to the ground.

Tomtar had a deep affection for all animals and often provided treats for animals around the farm. Here one sits among Scandinavian squirrels, who are greedily devouring the pine nuts he has provided.

The sentiment for the card echoes our own alarm at how quickly the season has arrived.

Itʼs almost Christmas already!
Wishing you the happiest holidays!”

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